OK, so I was bored. The kids were monopolizing the TV to play Wii, and now that you can watch almost any TV on line for free I “googled” an old favorite, My So Called Life. For those of you who are too young, this was a show about a 15 year-old-girl, Angela, and her trials and tribulations in high school. However, it was filmed in that super self-aware style of Thirty Something (you are also probably too young to remember that show as well). I remembered that show as being one giant sentimental tear inducing dream that always left me feeling like a moody teenager who had everything to live for. I would just crawl into Angela’s soul and be her for an hour – remembering how important each look, gesture, or word could be when you were that age. Ah, the self-absorption and self-importance of being a teenager.
As I watched episode 1, I was surprised to find that the connection that I had once felt for Angela was replaced by the alliance I now seem to have with her mother. I literally got chills when the mom character says to her husband “It is so hard to look at her – she looks like a stranger” when speaking of her daughter. Oh, did that strike close to home. The mother also struggles with feeling left out – the dinner conversation is limited – no one wants to go ice skating with her. She complains to her husband that she always has to be the bad guy when he gets to be the fun parent, the one to say yes.
Then there is the moment when Angela comes home after a particularly hard night and she cries to her mother and lays with her until she falls asleep. A rare break from the constant estrangement that they both feel. The look on the mom’s face when she feels that connection and knows that her teenage daughter is still in there… well, it was a real tearjerker for me.
Still crying through this old TV show, but now for completely different reasons.
I guess I am not quite there yet, my 10-year-old isn’t sneaking out to go to raves, but she is dying her hair blue (with my help) and I already can envision the struggle that will probably occur when she will actively try to assert her independence and break away from my control. I am both envious of the journey that she is about to embark on but also fearful for what it might do to us. But mostly, I am curious to see whom she will become and what choices she will make. I will try to be there when she needs me. I will try to be her home.
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